12.29.05

Strahan Sacked At Rangers/Isles Derby

Posted in Gridiron, Hockey at 11:14 am by

Though the New York Rangers running riot over the Islanders last night at the Nassau Mausoleum (potentially a new piece in the Wilpon empire?) is gratifying enough, thumbs up to the NY Post’s Evan Grossman for the following aside about Giants DE Michael Strahan.

Perhaps the only thing more disgusting than the Islanders’ performance last night at the sold-out Coliseum crowd was Michael Strahan trying to plug his line of pork products on the Jumbotron during an in-game interview in the tunnel.

The Giants’ gap-toothed sack artist apparently did not realize ” as he was booed by the fans he blindsided with the shameless plug ” that the building already housed its share of swine.

Mets Fan, 13 Others Swaying Kaz From Seppuku

Posted in Baseball at 10:55 am by

Miracle Mets’ Chris Wilcox has posted the following online petition :

To : Kaz Matsui

The undersigned agree that the life of Kazuo Matsui, second baseman for the New York Mets, is ultimately far more important than however poor his performance on the field may be. The Japanese culture is such that suicide is accepted for those who may feel as though they have disgraced their family. We would not like to see Mr. Matsui commit an act that would take his own life, and take a father away from a child, a husband away from a wife, and a son away from their parents. It is with that intent in mind that the undersigned agree to not boo Mr. Matsui, and agree to attempt to encourage him in the upcoming season to achieve greater heights. Whether or not he achieves those heights, we would still like to see to it that Mr. Matsui one day returns to Japan to his family, and that no harm comes to him from his own hand

下記によってはしかし貧乏人が分野の彼のæ§èƒ½ãã†ã‹ã‚‚しれないことをことがKazuo Matsui ニューヨークMets のための二塁手のãç”Ÿå‘½ã§ã‚ã‚‹æœçµ‚的に遠い重要よりä¸è‡´ã™ã‚‹ã‚日本文化は自殺が彼らが彼らの家族を恥となったように感じるかもしれない自殺のために受け入れられることそのような物であるã‚私達は彼自身の生命を氏が行為を託すのを見ることをMatsui 取る望まなかったしãå¦»ã‹ã‚‰ã®å­ä¾›ãå¤«ããŠã‚ˆã³å½¼ã‚‰ã®è¦ªã‹ã‚‰ã®æ¯å­ã‹ã‚‰çˆ¶ã‚’é£ã‚ŒåŽ»ã‚‹ã‚それはないブーイングの氏にMatsui 下記によってがä¸è‡´ã™ã‚‹ã‚ã‚Šãæ¬¡ã®å­£ç¯ã®å½¼ã‚’すばらしい高さを達成するために励ますように試みることに同意する心のその意æã¨ã‚それらの高さを達成するかどうか彼ãç§é”はまだ害が彼自身の手から彼に来ないことããã—て彼の家族にそれにそのMatsui 日本への氏の日帰りを見ることを望ã‚ã‚

Sincerely,

The Undersigned.

This is quite a coincidence, because I was just about to bulk e-mail the following to all of my friends and colleagues ;

TO: Fred and Jeff Wilpon

The undersigned agree that the lives of Fred and Jeff Wilpon, owner and devoted son of the owner of the New York Mets, are ultimately far more important than however ill-advised some of their decisions have been. American business culture is such that forcing an underling to fall on his or her sword is an acceptable practice, though sometimes, suicide is attempted by those who may feel as though they have disgraced their family and/or have listened to Mike and The Mad Dog too often. We would not like to see Fred or Jeff commit an act that would take their own lives, and take a father away from a child, a husband away from a wife, and a son away from their parents. It is with that intent in mind that the undersigned agree to continue spending as much money as possible on New York Mets tickets, parking, concessions and subscription fees to Fred and Jeff’s new cable network.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned.

If anyone would like to take a crack at translating the above for the Wilpons, please let me know.

B.C. Football Vs. The Cosmopolitan Sensibilities Of Boise, ID

Posted in Gridiron at 9:37 am by

From the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy.

When Monday night™s banquet turned into a rah-rah event for Boise State, the Boston College players let it be known they might have a little extra motivation for the MPC Computers Bowl.

After last night™s 27-21 victoryl, it became clear just how upset and offended the Eagles were. BC took offense at Mayor Dave Bieter™s open rooting for Boise State at the banquet, but particularly galling was the fact that MPC Computers CEO Mike Atkins made a running joke of mispronouncing Mathias Kiwanuka™s name.

Kiwanuka (above), whose grandfather was the first prime minister of Uganda, is extremely proud of his African heritage and his family name. The jokes hit him hard.

œI thought the banquet was extremely disrespectful, Kiwanuka said. œI™ve never been that disrespected so much as a Boston College football player, as a person from the city of Boston and as an individual. To see the mayor get up and say some disrespectful things, then to have the CEO of the title sponsor get up and say what he said and attack me personally, that was ridiculous.

BC coach Tom O™Brien was clearly angered.

œWe got to a banquet that turns into a pep rally, he said. œI didn™t have to say anything to this team. I ought to thank the mayor and the people of Boise. They did everything to get this team (ready). I™ve been to 19 bowl games and I™ve never seen anything like that in my life. It was a banquet. The pep rally was the next night. You don™t disrespect the best player on the opposite team by making fun of his name and having everyone in the audience laugh at him. There wasn™t anything I had to do to get this team ready. You all did it for us. Thank you.

Grizzlies Survive Kobe’s 45, Forearm

Posted in Basketball at 1:18 am by

Grizzlies 100, Lakers 99 (OT)

It was an huge win for Memphis at the Staples Center tonight, particularly with the ejection of Eddie Jones and Mike Miller and Shane Battier having fouled out. And while I’d prefer to focus on the clutch play down the stretch by Damon Stoudamire (having a bit of a revival this week), the real question is how did Kobe Bryant stay in this game? Bryant was bloodied in a collision with Mike Miller (above) during the 3rd quarter, but the foul was correctly called on the former. After being bandaged, Bryant returned to hit 3 successive 3 pointers….and delivered a blatant forearm to Miller’s throat when the Memphis guard tried to drive the lane.

Retaliation is one thing, but Bryant was settling a score over contact he initiated. ESPN’s Dee Brown observed that had a similar foul been committed by Ron Artest or Danny Fortson, either would’ve been ejected (and presumably, fined or suspended afterwards).

Had such an incident occured in a city other than L.A., the failure to run Kobe would’ve resulted in a riot. This was about as premeditated a mugging as it gets, and nonsensical to boot.

12.28.05

Carroll Staying At USC

Posted in Gridiron at 10:18 pm by

In a development that should surprise absolutely no one, USC head football coach Pete Carroll has agreed to a contract extension with the school, the length of which is unspecified. There’s a Matt Leinart joke in here somewhere, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.

Given that say, unlike Charlie Weis, Carroll has actually won something, he had more than a little leverage. And while the prospect of Carroll ever returning the NFL seemed terribly farfetched, it would’ve been great to see how the league might’ve coped with his unique sense of humor.

Shame they can’t give Reggie Bush a contract extension, though.

Michigan are currently leading Nebraska, 21-17 in the Mastercard Alamo Bowl, with another quarter to play. Though I have no rooting interest, every time a Bill Callahan-coached team, pro or college, loses, another dead kitten comes back to life, break dances and hands out free gum.

(postscript : hillarious finish to this one, all it needed was a tuba player getting creamed. Well, that and Bill Callahan being electrocuted. The Wolverines lost 5 games this year by a combined total of 21 points. Even Marty Schottenheimer is shaking his head).

Brown : Marbury’s Lousy Night No Accident

Posted in Basketball at 9:08 pm by

Magic 105, Knicks 96

“I think he just didn’t want to shoot the ball. So I thought he’d have 15 or 20 assists. Just one of those nights. (pause). Maybe he didn’t feel like he was on. He played 40 minutes, shot 0 for 7 with 3 assists. He got the ball all the time. I ran plenty of stuff for him. He had 3 assists and no steals. By accident, you can get a steal. “

I’ve listened to a lot of depressing stuff in my time, but nothing worse than a disconsolate Larry Brown telling the truth.

Spurs’ Ted Ditchburn, RIP

Posted in Football at 7:55 pm by

Former Tottenham goalkeeper Ted Ditchburn has passed away at the age of 84.

From the Spring of 1946 to March 1954, Ditchburn missed only 2 matches for Spurs, appearing in 247 consecutive games. Ditchburn also made 6 appearances for the England side.

Charlton Athletic’s Wednesday evening match at Newcastle, scheduled to kick off at 7:45pm, was cancelled at 7:15 due to snow throughout the day. A nice surprise, in that case, for Charlton fans who’d travelled some 300 miles for the privilege of turning around and going home.

The Holiday Tradition That Is The MPC Computers Bowl

Posted in Gridiron at 5:47 pm by

Boston College 24, Ball State O (halftime)

As you probably know, there is no bigger fan of the pomp and pagentry of big time collegiate athletics than yours truly. I woke up early this morning and watched the MPC Computers Parade, then spent most of the afternoon listening to old Eyeless In Gaza albums in homage to Boston College’s terrific WZBC.

That said, I’m not sure any contest, let alone one with this game’s rich history, is worthy of blowing off a D.U.I court date.

Nor can I understand, after trying in vain to adjust the settings of my very expensive television set, why the field is blue. What’s up with that?

Coming In August 2006 : Will Leitch Watches The “Lazy Sunday” Video

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 5:11 pm by

With typical aplomb, Will Leitch (to say nothing of his cretinous readers) is in a tizzy today over a video of a Ball State undergrad stammering his way through a crap sports newscast.

Granted, it’s a funny video. Just as funny, in fact, when others linked to it in April of 2005. The only thing that could be funnier would be if it turned out the unfortunate would-be Mike Lynch had recently committed suicide.

Seems to me that if you’re gonna take the time to publicly ridicule someone for their complete and utter inability to function as a public speaker, you’d better have some chops of your own in said department. I’ve seen Will sweating bullets on ESPN2. I’ve heard his insomnia-cure cameos on Sports Bloggers Live. Suffice to say, if you had to choose from Radar O’Riley, Leon Spinks and Will Leitch for a recitation of the Gettysburg Address, the poetry of Robert Frost or just today’s blue plate specials, Will would come in third.

Ball State’s Brian Collins can take some solace in knowing that a few minutes of net video humilation is nothing compared to life as a Walking Blooper Reel.

Swindon’s Iffy : We Didn’t Hire Big Ron

Posted in Football at 3:06 pm by

Despite numerous reports that much travel manager / disgraced TV pundit Ron Atkinson had taken a consultancy job at Swindon Town, manager Iffy Onuora denies having given Big Ron the gig.

Swindon on Wednesday denied they have appointed former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson (above) as a consultant.

Atkinson, who lost two media jobs after a racist remark he made last year about French defender Marcel Desailly, was quoted as saying he would team up with Swindon’s black coach, Iffy Onuora.

But Onuora said Atkinson was only hosting a TV documentary at the club.

“We have got a staff of people here which I am very happy with,” Onuora said. “Results are showing we are not doing too bad. Any other help we will get will be great – but Ron is here to front a TV show.”

Currently in progress, QPR, looking to bounce back from their Boxing Day loss at Brighton, are leading Cardiff City 1-0 courtesy of a 47th minute goal from Marc Nygaard.

Live right now on FSC, the much maligned former QPR striker Peter Crouch has scored his 4th goal in his past 3 matches, Liverpool leading Everton, 2-1 at intermission.

Garland’s New Deal

Posted in Baseball at 2:15 pm by

P John Garland (18-10 in 2005) and the White Sox avoided arbitration today, the right hander agreeing to a 3 year, $29 million deal.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dean Kovacevic reports the Pirates have come to terms with 3B Joe Randa on a one-year deal worth $4 million. Just in time to shoot the cover of the Pirates’ 2006 Media Guide, then.

Molori : Burton Acts Like Journalist, Is Accused Of Masturbation

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 2:08 pm by

Over at the finest blog ever named after a Germs song, Mediablitz’ John Molori comments on Ch. 38′s Steve Burton having the termerity to ask Patriots coach Bill Belichick a real question after New England’s Monday night win over the Jets.


(Belichick, wondering when TV-38 will cut everyone a break and put “Ask The Manager” back on the air)

After Belichick stated that Tedy Bruschi had tightness in his leg, Burton pressed on asking exactly what part of Bruschi™s leg was tight. Belichick typically dodged the question. Subsequently, Burton again questioned Belichick, politely asking why a key player like Bruschi is playing special teams in a game that was very much in hand.

A clearly agitated Belichick responded that the Patriots play to win. Burton™s questions were extremely valid and refreshing. In a region where the media largely falls at the feet of the three-time Super Bowl winning coach, Burton was direct and fearless.

In short, he did what no one else in the room had the guts to do. He took on one of the most intimidating and indomitable figures in New England sports history.

Later, Burton chased down Bruschi off the air and asked about his condition. According to Burton, Bruschi was walking with a noticeable limp and replied, œI™m fine. Burton asked again and Bruschi reiterated, œBurton, I™m fine. Kudos to Burton for flagging down Bruschi and getting an answer.

On Tuesday™s œBig Show on WEEI, œFifth Quarter cohost Steve DeOssie took issue with Burton™s line of questioning. DeOssie called Burton™s actions œmental masturbation and stated that he would never ask Belichick such questions because he already knows the answers. He also said that reporters who ask such questions are trying to show that they are tough guys.

DeOssie is, in my view, the best football commentator in the region, but in this case, he is out of line. You don™t have to be an ex-player to know that Belichick plays his starters longer than most coaches and that he values special teams as much as offense and defense.

We also know that he is never going to give any specifics on injuries. In fact, ABC™s Al Michaels had the line of the night when he said of Belichick™s injury silence, œIf you die, (the Patriots) list you as questionable.

XM Saves The Worst For Last

Posted in Baseball, Sports Radio at 1:34 pm by

XM has a funny way of thanking loyal subscribers for their support — the satellite provider is touting a December 31 broadcast in which Buzz Bissinger and Tony La Russa chew the fat about the former’s “3 Nights In August”, with said discussion moderated by none other than Tank McNamara’s twin brother from different mothers, Ronnie “Night Train” Lane.

The other media option for the evening, of course being the Stuart Scott / Little Steven Van Zandt ball-dropping, perhaps it would make sense to actually venture out of the house on New Year’s Eve.

The (Semi) Popular Music Of 2005, Neatly Summarized

Posted in Radio, Rock Und Roll at 12:22 pm by

If the CSTB Top Whatever Of 2005 didn’t satiate your need to have the year in ruckity roll wrapped up, tune into to Her Jazz’ Maria on WPRB today from 2:30-5:30 EST, for another compelling point-of-view.

(Real Player, iTunes or Windows Media friendly)

Bayless Answers The Bell

Posted in Boxing, Sports Radio at 12:05 pm by

Subbing for Jim Rome this afternoon, the extremely tight-faced Skip Bayless (above) accepted Charles Barkley’s challenge to square off in “Celebrity Boxing” (surely both fighters have to be celebrities?) and went on to proclaim that despite being “17 or 18 years older than Charles…I’m in much better shape. I can outrun him for 15 rounds. He won’t even last two rounds with me.”

I do hope this match occurs, if only because it will give America’s No. One (thousand) author of books-for-teens something else to do other than sneer at depressed kids.

Kreutz’ Market : Bears C In Pro Bowl Flap With Fat Slob

Posted in Gridiron at 9:42 am by

Sincere thanks are due to Olin Kreutz (left) and Pat Williams (right) for adding much needed intrigue to an otherwise meaningless Week 17 contest, if not the even less-meaningful Pro Bowl.

From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Brad Biggs.

Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams is out for revenge for what he feels was a Pro Bowl snubbing orchestrated by Kreutz, a charge the Bears center finds ridiculous. Don’t be surprised if Kreutz petitions coaches to let him play in an otherwise meaningless game, despite spraining an ankle Sunday at Green Bay.

Williams ripped Kreutz in a Nov. 4 article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, calling the five-time Pro Bowl player “a joke.”

”You all want to bump the guy up,” Williams said. ”Kreutz, he ain’t nothing but a joke. He’s been a joke since he came in the league. I’ve never respected the guy.”

The bad-mouthing was followed last week by comments from Angelo Wright, Williams’ agent, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, alleging that Kreutz worked to blackball Williams in Pro Bowl voting by players. Williams finished in the top three among NFC defensive tackles in fan balloting but was not named to the team, passed over by, among others, the Bears’ Tommie Harris.

”I know for a fact that the Bears were upset about Pat’s comments about Olin Kreutz,” Wright told the Pioneer Press. ”So Kreutz and the players called around and were in cahoots to make sure Pat didn’t get votes.”

Those comments set off Kreutz, who started ahead of Minnesota’s Matt Birk in last season’s Pro Bowl.

”When [Williams] talks nonsense about me like that, I can respond in so many ways,” Kreutz said. ”I can attack him. I can call him a fat slob. I can tell him he has never made the Pro Bowl. I can say all of this stuff. Then his stupid agent comes out and says I am manipulating Pro Bowl votes. Like I actually know that many people.

”Obviously, if everyone likes you, you’re probably doing something wrong. I’m glad there is someone out there that hates my guts. It makes me feel good about myself.”

Gourmet Corner

Posted in Food at 9:22 am by

From Wednesday’s editions of The Mirror, a list of potential new menu items for Tom Conran’s insanely overrated and overpriced Lucky 7 (Westbourne Grove).

Fancy a Mars Bar sandwich washed down with a glass of milk and coke?

Or perhaps you’d prefer a buttered Weetabix.

The bizarre snacks are revealed in a survey of the nation’s most unusual eating habits.

The study, for bakers Warburtons, found we are increasingly keen to try new combinations.

Mandy Lloyd of Birmingham College of Food said: “People are becoming more adventurous.

“With a wide selection of food available they love to experiment.”

Top 10 most unusual concoctions: 1 Spaghetti Bolognese on a bed of crisps, 2 Mars Bar sandwich, 3 Chicken casserole with chocolate sauce, 4 Coca-Cola with milk, 5 Gherkins and ice cream, 6 Peanut butter and bacon sandwich, 7 Banana in chicken soup, 8 Honey and cheese sandwich, 9 Chocolate and salted crisps, 10 Coca-Cola and red wine.

Taking Names With Nate Robinson

Posted in Basketball at 9:13 am by

Knicks rookie G Nate Robinson led a spirited garbage time comeback against the Nets on Tuesday night, cutting a 21 point NJ lead to 7 and generally raising the level of intensity en route….to fouling out in 20 minutes of playing time. The New York Times’ Marek Fuchs on Robinson’s relationship with NBA referees.

Larry Brown seems to regard Robinson (above), appreciatively, as something of a puzzle – like a well-loved middle child who’s also something of a handful. Brown can often be seen counseling Robinson. “Half the time I’m talking about his emotions,” Brown said. “It’s not always basketball related.”

Instead, it is the way Robinson seems to gesture and express outrage over so many calls against the Knicks.

“He’s like a barrister,” Brown said. “He negotiates everything. I’m trying to get him to focus on basketball, the task at hand.”

Robinson said of his chats with Brown, “He’s just always telling me to keep my mouth shut.”

He said that some teammates, including the veteran Malik Rose, who fought with him in the locker room early this month, had advised him to romance the referees by calling them by their names.

But for a lively rookie making his first turn around the league, such advice is not easy to follow.

“There are so many different names, and they have the same names,” Robinson said. “There are a couple of Mikes, one Dick, I remember, and another guy – a Richard. It’s kind of easy, but at the same time it’s hard.”

The Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein on a similar theme.

Referees around the league have already pegged Robinson as a problem child, a player who complains about every call, even though as a rookie he hasn’t yet earned the their respect or their whistles.

He’ll yell, “Hey, Ref,” at an official, instead of calling him or her by their first name, and make faces showing varying degrees of anguish every time the whistle blows against him. Referees, like everybody else, talk, and the word is spreading.

Referees know only what they see and hear, and they don’t appreciate a lack of respect from a 21-year-old rookie. One official, whom Robinson called “Ref,” gave the rookie the following terse response. “My name is Tim!”

Bradford To The Mets

Posted in Baseball at 8:52 am by

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports the New York Mets have acquired free agent RHP Chad Bradford.

Bradford, who will receive a contract for between $1 million and $1.5 million, had back surgery and missed the first half of last season. When he returned, pitching for the A’s and Red Sox, he failed to overwhelm righties as he had in the past. Righties batted .282 against Bradford in 2005 after previously managing to hit just .220.

Nevertheless, Bradford still did not allow a homer to a righty batter, and has permitted just 10 homers in 835 at-bats against righties in his career. However, his funky motion does not deceive lefties, who have hit .319 against him during his career. He is a matchup reliever, but the Mets have no sure-thing lefties to serve as a complement.

The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro quotes Eric Byrnes’ agent as claiming the Diamondbacks have shown interest in his client, perhaps to play center field next season.

The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebic writes that the Orioles, undaunted by the prospects of a 37 year old who never saw a bad pitch he didn’t like, are close to signing OF Jeromy Burnitz to a two-year pact worth $12 million >. Only compared to say, inviting Raul Mondesi or Derek Bell to spring training does this seem like a good idea.

Michael Vale, RIP

Posted in Food at 8:35 am by

7pm – classes at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute

11pm – Stanislavski Workshop

1am – nap

4am – time to make the doughnuts.

Raffy’s December Damage Control

Posted in Baseball at 12:25 am by

In a deliberate snub to countdown maven Buster Olney (number of days we’ve waited for Olney’s ESPN blog to reappear : 3), the disgraced Rafael Palmiero chats with Murray Chass in Wednesday’s New York Times.

Given the way last season ended for him – the stunning suspension, the poor performance upon his return, the injuries that gave the Baltimore Orioles an excuse to send him home – Palmeiro, a free agent, would ideally like to play another year or two, bat .300 and hit 30 home runs or so each season.

But, he added in a telephone interview:“I think it is an unfair thing to expect me to do at the age of 41, 42, play the way I did when I was 30 . But maybe if I have some solid years and don’t test positive, they can say he went out and hit that way. Maybe that’s what I can do.”

“At this point I really don’t know,” he said, speaking publicly for the first time since last season. “I love baseball and I’d like to play forever, but there are other things that are important.” He mentioned his two sons, ages 15 and 10. “There are things I have to weigh. Baseball needs to be second to my family. I’m still interested in playing. I want to see what options I have. If there’s something that’s intriguing, I’ll do it.”

And what might he find intriguing?

“I’m not sure,” he said. “Well, obviously I’d like to play for a good team. I’d have to see what the options are out there. The Yankees would be intriguing. I grew up being a Yankee fan; I’ve always loved the Yankees. But the Yankees seem to be maxed out.”

Between Raffy, Sammy Sosa and Bret Boone, the Newark Bears will have some impressive talent to choose from in 2006.

12.27.05

Charlie Weis Gets Straight Banged

Posted in Blogged Down, Gridiron at 9:04 pm by

Straight Bangin’s list of “Ten People We Saw Too Much Of In 2005″ includes Will Ferrell (ok, maybe the “Bewitched” movie was a bad idea), Bill Simmons (no argument here), Jamie Foxx, and Notre Dame’s universally beloved Charlie Weiss.

I’m pretty certain that Charlie Weis has a wife. I think her name is Maura. I could be wrong, but this is the information I’m going with. Why am I writing about her? Well, I guess I just wonder if she is satisfied. You know, sexually. I mean, her husband’s dick is in so many mouths so often that I can’t imagine he has much left for her.

Jays Say No Way To Trade Of Superfluous Shea

Posted in Baseball at 8:27 pm by

With the addition of Troy Glaus (above), Toronto’s glut of corner infielders now includes the former D-Backs/Angels 3B, Corey Koskie, Eric Hinske and the recently acquired Lyle Overbay.

So what do we make of this line from the Globe & Mail’s Jeff Blair?

Manager John Gibbons has urged Ricciardi to hang on to righty-hitting Shea Hillenbrand, and Ricciardi has all but taken him off the trade block.

If there’s an old adage about how “you can never have too many guys who play 1st or 3rd” I’ve not heard it.

More from Blair.

Financially, the 2005 season will go down as one in which the Blue Jays have come full circle since Ricciardi joined the team in November of 2001, going from a club with a $76-million U.S. payroll and $76-million (Canadian) loss to a club that is within $3-million (Canadian) of breaking even and will have a payroll just less than the 2001 figure. And while the acquisition of Glaus will have the biggest impact on the lineup, the adding of Overbay told an even deeper tale.

Sent to the Brewers in the deal were left-hander Zach Jackson (who along with another product of the 2004 draft, David Purcey, were among the crown jewels of the minor-league system) as well as pitcher Dave Bush and minor-league outfielder Gabe Gross. Jackson, who was chosen 32nd overall in 2004, is considered farther advanced that Purcey after a season in which he won 16 games and had a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

But Ricciardi and his lieutenants believe that Purcey, who was taken 16th in the draft out of Oklahoma and has a more advanced curveball, has a higher ceiling than Jackson. At any rate, what they had just done was not lost on them on the night they made the Overbay trade: They were using minor-league prospects they had drafted, signed and developed to fill a void at the big-league level. It was a watershed moment.

“I’m not going to apologize for using minor-league pitching to get major-league position players,” said Ricciardi, who has signed a contract extension through 2010. “We didn’t trade [Dustin] McGowan. We still have [Francisco] Rosario, Vince Perkins, Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero. There’s still some depth and, theoretically, we’ll get high draft picks if we lose people like Ted Lilly and Hillenbrand to free agency in the next year or so.”

The Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti writes the Red Sox are amongst the contenders for the services of free agent 1B J.T. Snow.

What Could Be Funnier Than Someone’s Kid Dying?

Posted in Blogged Down, Will Leitch Sucks at 4:16 pm by

Human Whoopie Cushion Will Leitch’s sense of humor is becoming as sophisticated as his sense of fair play. Not content with laughing at those with Down’s Syndrome, Leitch’s latest targets seem to be the grieving relatives of young men who have committed suicide. Troubled ex-reliever Jeff Reardon says he’s having troubling coping with his son’s overdose, giving Will the excuse to make fun of Reardon’s beard.

You’ll recall it was just last week that Leitch showed the presence of mind to link to the MySpace page of Tony Dungy’s late son, James. Today, Leitch defended said decision, claiming said profile is “the first thing that has given any insight, however slight, of what might have been inside James Dungy™s head.”

And thank god for that, too. There’s no way the public could’ve lasted another moment without knowing for example, that Tony Dungy’s kid was into weed, Randy Moss and Snoop Dogg.

Anyhow, for once, I am in agreement with Will. The public’s right to know supercedes any considerations of privacy, sensitivity or compassion. And you can learn a lot about a person from their MySpace profile.

Dr. Marshall’s Diagnosis For Prior

Posted in Baseball at 2:16 pm by

In the event the Baltimore Orioles really are foolish enough to trade Miguel Tejada for Mark Prior, the Daily Southtown’s Paul Ladewski has dug up some useful advice (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

“Prior has a pitching motion that is very problematic, no question about it,” Dr. Mike Marshall said. “If he doesn’t change, he will never reach everything that he should be.”

Mike Marshall? What does he know? What did the guy ever accomplish in the big leagues, anyway?

Actually, a lot.

In 1974, Marshall became the first relief pitcher to capture the Cy Young Award. He pitched 208-plus innings in an unheard of 106 games that season. And he often pitched batting practice on his few days off.

“Prior has what I call a ‘loop’ in his motion,” said Marshall, who had a career 3.14 earned-run average even though he rarely reached 90 mph on the speed gun. “He brings his right hand up close to his ear. When his elbow starts forward, his hand goes back and flies laterally away from his body. That’s an incredible amount of stress on the front of his shoulder.”

But what makes Marshall such an authority on the subject? What does he know about bones and muscles and the mechanics of a pitcher?

A lot, really. Marshall devoted much of the last 40 years to book and film study on the subject. After extensive undergraduate work in kinesiology at Michigan State, he earned a doctorate degree in exercise physiology.

Then again, Marshall is a bitter 62-year-old man who has been blackballed by the big leagues because he has a lot of goofy ideas and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. For instance, Marshall is a proponent of the four-man rotation. He also believes that rest only leads to atrophy.

Yet Marshall isn’t so bitter as to refuse to help any pitcher who asks for it. Which is why Dr. Mike trains young pitchers in suburban Tampa (fee: 10 bucks per day) and spreads the word on his Web site.

If Marshall has a problem, then it’s that he knows too much, if you ask me.

“If Prior would take the time to relearn a few things about his pitching motion, I believe he could be an incredible pitcher,” Marshall said. “He should have started the day after last season ended and worked his tail off to correct the flaws that have caused him to unnecessarily stress his arm to a point that it cannot withstand. The problem isn’t complicated, but it takes hard work to rectify it. I’d work his (butt) off.”

The thing is, as long as Prior puts his faith in the theories of former pitcher Tom House and Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Marshall is convinced that he won’t come close to his potential.

“Ask either one of them what the four muscles are that comprise the rotator cuff, and he wouldn’t have a clue,” Marshall said. “How the heck can you teach anything when you don’t know the muscles that are involved? They sure as heck don’t know how to apply Newton’s first, second and third laws to the pitching motion. They don’t know Isaac Newton from the Fig Newton.”

As for Dusty Baker, his former Dodgers teammate, Marshall said, “Dusty openly admits that he knows nothing about pitching except how to hit it.”